Artist in Residence: Darcie Lee Hanaway

The Rhode Island painter turned Island painter talks about becoming a resident, collecting things and what it means that spring is on the way

Artist Darcie Lee Hanaway has come to Martha’s Vineyard for summers since she was a kid. Five years ago, she came to the Island to work for the summer with plans to move after that. But car trouble got in her way and she’s been here year round ever sine.

Hanaway studied painting at Rhode Island College and has found the Island a natural place, after a few false starts, to grow as an artist. This winter, her art has gotten smaller in size, but deeper in emotional process. She’s also fallen in love with a fire hydrant.

What has it meant to your art to live here?

I struggled for a while trying to find places to paint. I am a studio painter, so having a space is important to me. There were basements and corners of rooms and studios that were only winter rentals - and barns some with electricity and some with no heat. I finally have a space to create in that I don't have to pack up and move twice a year and I'm so grateful to have it. It stifles my progress to have to constantly pack up and move things all the time. My living situation was the same- always moving. I feel like I am finally being granted the space to grow here as an artist and as a resident.

What have you been working on this winter?

So many pieces.. mostly mixed media pieces, mostly on the smaller scale (meaning  22"x 30" and smaller) dealing with growth and processing emotions. I have also been working on a few found object pieces using old dug up stumps and harvesting moss and bark and birds' nests and creating these little environments I call 'winter rentals.'

What subject matter have you been working from this winter?                                                                                      

Well I had an alium obsession for a while, and I was also really into some photos that were taken years ago from a performance piece I did. And I have lilies that dried up and I cut down, but right now I'm having a love affair with a fire hydrant outside my studio window.

What are you looking forward to doing most this summer?

Extending my living space outdoors to create the most breathing, growing, flying, green, serene wonderland for me to flit and float around in before work - with the smell of my freshly pressed coffee in the morning alongside the butterflies and birds checking in with the local news report.

What do you paint with?

Oils, acrylics, water-colors, latex enamels, spray-paint, markers, paint-markers, colored pencils, pens, oil-bars, oil-pastels, charcoal, pencil on paper, canvas, wood, glass whatever... I like experimenting with all materials and work very intuitively. I collect all sorts of materials for all kinds projects. The key to this is storage...I never know when I am going to use what but I hate letting good things go to waste when I can find ways to recycle them into new things.

When did you know you wanted to be a painter?

I don't think you get to choose. It's a blessing and a curse... I'm not satisfied if I'm not creating something almost all of the time - from paintings, to dinners, to gardens, to atmospheres…if I don't like what I’m painting I don't stop - I just keep painting until I’m inspired again. This is why I like to work in many different mediums and also 3 dimensionally. I have to keep it fresh for myself

Where do you go when you need a change of scene?

I could go anywhere

What is the one Island treat you cannot resist?

A Matty Ryan cocktail after a great studio session

Where is your favorite place to walk?

Favorites are hard for me. I think the only one I have is the color green

When does softball start? What team are you on?

Too late- June, I think. The Honeys.

What position do you play?

Left field most of the time in that league. I pitch a lot in fall ball.

Where can people see your work?

I'll do a show this spring at Shindig. I haven't locked down the dates yet. You can visit my studio by appointment- 401 935 6762. My website should be back up in few weeks www.darcielee.com…it’s getting a boob job right now, nothing crazy- we are aiming for a c cup.

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